Atwal misses titles on Nationwide Tour, ends second
The Indian professional, a former Asia No. 1, was leading by one after three rounds, but shot a four-over 74 and finished in a tie for second at the Panama Movistar Championship.other Updated: Jan 28, 2008 22:17 IST
A nightmarish stretch of four bogeys in five holes saw overnight leader Arjun Atwal card his worst round of the week and let go off a chance to notch up his first win in the United States.
The Indian professional, a former Asia No. 1, was leading by one after three rounds, but shot a four-over 74 and finished in a tie for second at the Panama Movistar Championship, the opening tournament on the 2008 Nationwide Tour schedule.
Atwal, who went through a horrendous 2007, where he finished way down in 60th place on Nationwide Tour and missed a lot of cuts on main PGFA Tour to finish below 200th place, seemed to be heading for a victorious start in 2008 - just the way Daniel Chopra did at the Mercedes Benz Open earlier this month.
But Scott Dunlap emerged from a packed leaderboard late Sunday in Central America to win the title. It was his second career Nationwide Tour title.
Dunlap's final-round 1-over-par 71 was good enough to better the field at the difficult Panama Golf Club, where only four players beat par for the week. Dunlap's 3-under 277 total was one stroke better than Jeev Klauk (69) and Atwal (74).
Chris Smith (74) finished at 1 under par to round out the quartet of sub-par scores.
Another former Asian Tour player Australian Jarrod Lyle tied for sixth with a total of one-over 281 with a final round card of 73.
Atwal, who will be seen in action in India twice next month, started at six-under and began the final round with a birdie to get to seven-under. But he dropped four shots by the turn. He had three bogeys in a row from fifth to seventh and another on ninth. He did not make another birdie the rest of the way and fell two back with a bogey at No. 15.
The final nine holes, much like most of the week turned into a tough drama.
When the final twosome of Atwal and Chris Smith failed to make birdies on the 18th in order to get into a play-off, the trophy and the first-place cheque of $108,000 was secured by Dunlap.
The Nationwide Tour heads to Morelia, Mexico, next week for the inaugural Mexico Open presented by Corona.